Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, the Republican leader on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the Biden administration had a “terrible deal” in securing Brittney Griner’s release, while also expressing relief that she was free.
Rubio warned that the deal would “incentivize acceptance of more Americans around the world.”
“The release of a U.S. citizen held hostage is good news. I think it points to the challenge that these regimes know this. That’s why Maduro traded five Citgo executives who were lured to Venezuela and arrested for the convicted Drug dealer nephew. That’s why you trade a professional basketball player for (marijuana) oil for a death dealer. These are bad deals,” Rubio said, referring to the U.S. where Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro is being held. Prisoner swap for oil company executives.
Asked by CNN whether the deal would not have been reached had he been president, Rubio said he hoped the deal with the Russians “would be part of a broader arrangement that would include all the detained American hostages.”
“We have to recognize that even though we’re happy that Americans are coming home, it does create an incentive to accept more Americans around the world,” he said.
Rubio added that he thought Greiner would “be very appreciative and more appreciative of what is great and special about this country.”
Other Republican leaders also criticized the deal:
Congressman Mike Walz of Florida told Fox News that he was “happy for the Greener family, but it’s never in America’s interest in the long run to appease terrorists, appease dictatorships.”
Waltz criticized the lack of a deal to release Whelan.
“My heart breaks for the Whelan family,” he said. “What crime did he commit? Not being a celebrity? Not ticking enough boxes for Hollywood? The fact that we left a US Marine and made that choice, I don’t believe…. ..President Biden says we have no choice.”
Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming echoed that sentiment in an interview with Fox Business.
“Keeping the Marines out there is absolutely wrong,” he said, referring to Paul Whelan. “He may not be forgotten, but he’s still there.”